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Emotional Intelligence Is Not A Nice To Have; It’s A Need to Have That Can Be Learned -Episode 014

Patrick:            Hi everybody. I’m Pat V. You’re listening to the Rise Above Your Best podcast, where I’m not only obsessed with interviewing and understanding the habits of people that have achieved great success, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates the great successes available to all of us. And it all starts when we believe in the power of rising above our best.

Patrick:            Today’s episode really is a foundational tool. A lot of the work that I do, it’s around emotional intelligence. And over the last two decades emotional intelligence really has continued to grow in relevance and importance. There’s so much research available, whether it’s across industries, could be healthcare, biotech, manufacturing, IT, it really doesn’t matter. There’s so much evidence in regards to the impact that emotional intelligence has on our abilities to be more effective as individuals, as leaders, however we wanna cut this up.

Patrick:            Even with that, though, there is some challenges. One, I think, is the belief by still a large group of people when they don’t understand emotional intelligence think fluffy, kumbaya, let’s hold hands, this weak set of behaviors. And the other part is even for those that do believe in the impact or benefit of demonstrating emotionally intelligent behaviors, there’s a fall back to, “I can’t do it. I’m not able to develop those skills.” So by the end of this podcast, what I’m gonna present to you is data that says that you actually can. That we all have the ability to develop these emotionally intelligent behaviors, and it’s just a matter of putting it into process. And that’s what we’ll talk to. So why don’t we get started.

Patrick:            I remember when I first started my business Emery Leadership Group. I went into a company in New Jersey that I had worked for for several years. I was a successful sales rep for them. I was involved in their management training program. And I went back in after becoming certified as a coach through iPEC and also licensing a program around emotional intelligence. And I went back into this organization, met with the director of sales, and one of the first things out of his mouth in our meeting was, “I’m happy to talk to you about any of the trainings that you want to do as long as they don’t deal with that emotional intelligence bullshit.” And he really blew me away. Because here I was successfully a sales rep with this organization.

Patrick:            And looking back, my success really was directly the result of those behaviors. Those emotionally intelligent behaviors are perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions. That’s what created my success there. And it’s what’s continued to be the foundation of the work that I do, whether it’s leadership or team building or sales development. It’s really around helping people understand that when you really are able to wrap your arms around what it means to be emotionally intelligent and how to display these behaviors, you realize that it’s not weak or fluffy or bullshit. It’s real. It is probably the most important skill set that you can have.

Patrick:            And lets face it, that’s all we are, every day. We’re emotions. Either we’re frustrated, or we’re happy, or we’re sad, or we’re annoyed. There are things that are going on all day long every day and our emotions really create what our behaviors will be because of that. How do we act on those feelings or those emotions that we have. And that’s really what this process is about. So again, the process for today is I’m gonna present to you two different studies, almost a decade apart, but really looking at, can emotional intelligence be taught? And I think both of these will demonstrate that first off, that it can. And then what we’ll look to is to say, okay, we know it can be taught. What’s something that quickly I can learn that I can continue to practice that will help me to develop in this area. And for today we’ll only touch on self-awareness, which really is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Because the belief is, if I can’t be aware of myself, how am I ever gonna be able to be aware of somebody else in terms of their emotions.

Patrick:            But I would caution you and certainly in the work that I’m continuing to do in this area, over a decade of formally working with emotional intelligence is I’ve come to realize that people can be self-aware but still not be emotionally intelligent. And what I mean by that is, I’ve worked with individuals, executives in organizations that know that their behaviors are disruptive and that they might alienate people or intimidate people and they’re okay with that. They’re self-aware. They know their behaviors and the impact that it has. The negative impact that it can have. And they just don’t care. So that’s where I would say, self-awareness, you can be self-aware of being a bad person. But that’s not being emotionally intelligent which is really what we’re here to talk about.

Patrick:            So the first study that I’m gonna talk to you about is one that was published in Personality and Individual Differences. It was back in 2009. And the title of it was Increasing Emotional Intelligence, How is it Possible. And what’s interesting about this study is what they did was it was actually a controlled study where they had a group that went through the training and one that didn’t. Now it was a small group. It was only 37 people. The training group consisted of 15 women and four men and in the control group there were 15 women and three men.

Patrick:            The training group actually had four sessions consisting of only two and a half hours of actual training. And what was interesting is when they looked at the content of the training or what was involved in the content of the training, each session was based on short lectures, role plays, group discussions, what they called readings], and also each of the participants were required to keep a personal diary in which they had to report daily one emotional experience. And these emotional experiences had to be analyzed in the light of the theory that was explained around emotional intelligence in class. It was very important to stress that they were practicing what they were learning, which is really important and something that we’ll see in the next study as well.

Patrick:            What is really impactful about this is that when they finished up, obviously, the four weeks and tested the two groups and assessed them based on emotionally intelligent behaviors, what they found was that the training group scored higher. Also what they found was that six months later when they reassessed these groups, they found that much of the training was durable in terms of the group that had gone through the training. That they tended to, again, maintain that higher level of emotionally intelligent behaviors. Again, really important in terms of the work that we’re doing because for those people that are out there that are saying, “I really can’t do this. This is just who I am.” This starts to suffocate out that excuse. You can do it. It’s just about being trained. And what’s important here is it showed that it was ongoing. We can’t just go through a great workshop, a one day workshop and think, well, we just waved the magic wand and now we’re emotionally intelligent. That’s not how it works. There’s ongoing work to be done here, but when that is done, it becomes durable.

Patrick:            The next study that I will quickly touch on was much more recent. It was actually published this past year in 2018 and it was in the Human Resource Management Review. The title of it was Can Emotional Intelligence be Trained? A Meta-Analytical Investigation. And again, I’ll have these in the show notes for people to be able to reference for themselves. What the authors of this study or meta-analytical investigation tried to do was they identified a total of 58 published and unpublished studies that included an emotional intelligence training program and their whole goal here was to say, “Is training effective? And if it is effective, what are the ingredients? What needs to be there for positive development of emotionally intelligent behaviors?”

Patrick:            What this study first recognized was that there are multiple meta-analysis as it relates to emotional intelligence in the relationship to positive aspects on leadership, job performance, as well as health. The purpose of this for the authors was really just to demonstrate that we know that there is a positive impact on emotional intelligence, the behaviors of emotional intelligence in many aspects of work. That has been proven multiple times. What they wanted to really look to is, again, what’s the training? How does that part work? And what’s effective?

Patrick:            One that I wanted to site here in particular was workplace training interventions where they had looked at what are some of the high stress jobs out there whether it’s police officers, or nurses, even managers. And one study that they sited individually was one that was done between EI and about 70 nurses in a teaching hospital. And again, these teaching nurses went through, or these nurses in a teaching institute, I should say, went through two hours of training a day for seven weeks. And what they found was not only was there an increase in the nurses EI score but also their job satisfaction was increased.

Patrick:            And again, certainly we hear so much today about employee engagement and how few employees are engaged within work places. We know that if people understand how to manage their own emotions as well as those of others and perceive them, they’re gonna be more effective in this area and the likelihood of them being more engaged certainly is there as well. So again, the purpose of this study was to answer the question of whether emotional intelligence can be trained. And I as mentioned, they addressed this really through conducting this meta-analysis and both of the meta-analysis that they did they found that the effective training was both moderate and positive as it relates to EI, and it certainly confirmed that the more training that was done the more positive the outcome would be for training around the emotionally intelligent behaviors. What’s important here to recognize as well is that this was beneficial for both males and females. As well, it was to say what specifically needs to be done if we’re gonna develop this skill set. Because when we think about this, EI really is like a muscle. What they found was that in these groups effective training involved not only classroom time, but also individual case studies, reflection, journaling, as well as coaching to provide feedback for them on the practices that they were implementing.

Patrick:            So you may be thinking, that’s great. There’s research that shows that you can develop these skills. Well how do I do it myself? One of the things that I do when I work with organizations is when we start talking about developing self-awareness, what do we do? Well, first it’s why do we wanna do it? What’s the benefit to better self-awareness? Well, to start, it can enhance our decision-making, it can enhance the behaviors that I display to others when I’m self-aware of it. And it also has the ability to enhance my performance at work. So those are some of the why’s?

Patrick:            The first part of this process is really about reflection. It’s asking individuals, so yourself right now say, spend some time and consider the types of emotions that you have when you’re at work. And when do you experience these kind of behaviors? And what strategies do you currently use now to manage these, if any?

Patrick:            Next of all is getting feedback from others. There’s gotta be somebody that you can go to. A trusted colleague or person that you can ask them based on the reflections that you’ve made on yourself, what are some suggestions? And how do they perceive you in terms of how you perceived yourself? And again, this has to be a trusted person that you want somebody that’s going to be able to really tell you how they see you showing up, and the caution here is for you not to try and defend your position once they tell you. Because if you do that then you truly have lost probably the opportunity for them to be really open with you in the future. You need to take this information, and simply reflect on it. Where does this show up? Or why are they probably right in this situation? To look at it from their perspective.

Patrick:            The third component of this is to look at our emotions, because they really can be placed into one of probably three categories, either positive, neutral, or negative. And there’s a list of emotions if you were to google emotions, that’s a quick way to do it, that you can go and look and say, “Okay. Of this list I’m gonna take 10 of these that I probably exhibit most often.” And I’m gonna say, “Which one of these are positive? Which one are neutral? And which ones are negative?” From there I’m gonna maybe take the positive emotions and say, “What events, either at work or at home, typically cause these? Which ones cause the positive ones? Which ones cause the negative ones? And which ones cause neutral or just they’re not positive or negative?”

Patrick:            What you can then write down is the strategies I use to identify and understand the causes of my emotions at work include and then you list them out. Because really what we’re starting to is we’re taking things that maybe are just automatic to us now that we really don’t even think about and starting to write them out to see. As you do this, you will start to see that there are patterns between my emotions and my actions, what I do. And we tend to have fall backs or things that we do automatically. And its not until we really look in the mirror or put the mirror up there to say, “Oh my God. I can’t believe that that’s, if I’m starting to see a pattern here. This is what I do.”

Patrick:            After looking at this, the next part that I’ll ask you to think about is values. What things do you value? Especially in a work setting. Could be leadership. Could be a quality, recognition, competence in others, trust, honesty, respect. Now start to think in terms of degree of importance of those things. How important is, let’s say, respect to you? And now think about a time when somebody’s been disrespectful to you. What kind of emotions tend to come up? How do you tend to behave in those situations? And again, what you’ll start to see are patterns that these things they trigger each other. And in terms of self-awareness taking it to the next step which we’ll talk in a different episode this idea of managing our emotions. Well first we need to recognize what’s happening, and what’s gonna come up as a result of certain behaviors that we might see in others. That if I’m around somebody that I feel like they’re disrespectful, I’m gonna behave in a certain way. And if I want that to change, then I need to recognize how this person’s behaviors put me into that place and work on strategies to avoid that.

Patrick:            The last exercise I’ll challenge you with is writing down a value. Just take one value that’s really high to you. And on a piece of paper say, my personal definition of this value is? And after you’ve written that down, workplace events that result in positive emotions associated with this value are? Workplace events that result in negative emotions associated with this value are? Then next write down, decisions I sometimes make when these events and emotions arise include? And answer that. And then the last one is, behaviors I sometimes display to others when these events and emotions arise include? And lastly, what are some strategies that you can do to optimize your emotions? If you start to see a pattern here, what are some things that you think you can do now when you’re not in that place where you’re hijacked by somebody else’s behavior, maybe. What are some things that I can do to manage that right now?

Patrick:            When you start to understand how your values, your emotions, and your behaviors interconnect, you’re able to start to become much more self-aware and then deal with all of the next stages of becoming more emotionally intelligent in terms of how you interact with somebody else.

Patrick:            Hopefully I’ve given you a lot to go on here. First is, demonstrating to you that there’s research that demonstrates the impact that emotionally intelligent behaviors have on every aspect of our lives, whether it’s personal or business, whether it’s around leadership. It doesn’t matter the industry, whether it’s healthcare, again, or manufacturing, or finance. Developing stronger emotionally intelligent behaviors has a positive impact on every one of these that we’ve discussed today. And hopefully I’ve given you some strategies in terms of how you can start to develop your own emotional intelligence. The next step for you would be either find a coach or find some trusted individual that you can start to develop these over time. And it does take time, this is a muscle. And just like with any muscle, if you don’t work it, it begins to break down, it won’t be as strong. But if you continue to develop it, the way you approach situations and other people will just get stronger.

Patrick:            If you found this helpful and valuable, I’d ask that you share it with somebody that you know that can benefit as well. If you haven’t already, I’d ask that you subscribe to this podcast, and as well it would mean the world to me if you’d go online and put a rating on here or comment in terms of how this has positively impacted how you look at emotional intelligence, and how it can help you to improve your own abilities. And until our next episode I hope you can go out there and rise above your best.

Thanks For Listening!

 

Increasing emotional intelligence: (How) is it possible?

Can emotional intelligence be trained? A meta analytical investigation.

Emery Leadership Group

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